Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Justin Trudeau and the Great Pipeline War
The next time Justin Trudeau visits Vancouver he'll have to keep a low profile, or wear plenty of camouflage paint.
Because the Great Pipeline War has finally begun in earnest.
But although the protests will be loud, and you can count me among those who believe that no new pipelines should be built.
As T.S. Elliot wrote in his poem The Hollow Men: "Between the idea and the reality... between the motion and the response...falls the shadow."
So I wouldn't be surprised if Justin wins the Great Pipeline War for the following reasons.
Firstly, and most importantly, the Trans Mountain pipeline will almost certainly never be built.
There will be protests, there will be litigation, the case will be tied up in the courts for years, even as the threat of climate change grows, and the rest of the world moves away from fossil fuels.
The price of oil which is set to sink even lower as Donald Trump opens the taps in the U.S. will probably make the project uneconomical. And the 157 conditions imposed on Kinder Morgan may make the company decide it's just not worth the aggravation.
And I'm pretty sure that Trudeau and his adviser Gerald Butts know that.
But by approving those pipelines, they get to throw a life line to Rachel Notley.
In making the most contentious decision in the short life of his government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Alberta Premier Rachel Notley the biggest victory in the brief life of hers.
As well as dampening the separatist fires in that tormented province, which had no pipelines been approved could have turned into serious national unity crisis.
While leaving the Cons sputtering, and the NDP firing on one cylinder, unable to attack Trudeau without attacking Notley.
Thirdly, by coupling the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline with the killing of the Northern Gateway project, and declaring a large part of the BC coast to be tanker-free, the Liberals will be able to appease some aboriginal groups and other Canadians in the rest of the country.
For it will be easier to claim credit for having saved this pristine wilderness...
Than it will be to attack the Liberals for threatening the city of Vancouver...
Where on any given day you can see large ships anchored in English Bay, waiting to enter Burrard Inlet.
Fourthly, the electoral consequences should be minimal. Even in British Columbia.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could lose 31 per cent of B.C. voters who supported him in 2015 if he approves the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline project, a new poll commissioned by an B.C. NGO opposed to the project shows.
The poll, conducted by Insights West, found that three out of 10 Liberal voters in B.C. would be less likely to cast a ballot for Trudeau’s party in 2019 if the $6.8 billion pipeline project is approved.
Where even if the Liberals lost all their 17 seats in that province, which is unlikely, they know that they have improved their chances of holding on to many more seats in Ontario and Quebec.
Now that the people who live there must surely know that the Energy East pipeline will now almost certainly NOT be built...
Finally, and this is where T.S. Eliot's shadow falls, I honestly can't see this becoming a big issue, in a country where the will to fight climate change is dubious at best.
Not when so many enjoy our comfortable standard of living, and don't want anything to threaten it. Not when the economy is considered so much more important than the environment.
One in three (34%) say that economic conditions in general are the most important issue facing Canada today.
The environment/climate change is considered the top issue by 8% nationally. Women and those under 45 put a greater emphasis on this issue than men and older people, but the differences are modest.
And not when so many love their cars...
That's the Don Valley highway in Toronto on any given day.
Where many drivers are already complaining bitterly about a plan that would have them pay a $2 toll.
And this is Vancouver on any given day...
Which along with Los Angeles shares the dubious honour of being the most congested city in North America.
You know, the day Canadians start walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk, will be the day the real battle to save the planet begins.
But don't let that discourage you Vancouver, for I am on your side.
Justin Trudeau may be poised to win the Great Pipeline War, and easily win the next election.
But the fate of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, is still in your hands...